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LMF Class Videos

09/02 Making and Working With Japanese Alloys: Shibuichi and Shakudo - VIDEO ONLY

09/02 Making and Working With Japanese Alloys: Shibuichi and Shakudo - VIDEO ONLY

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Saturday, September 2, 2023 
10:00 am - 2:00 pm PDT

Instructor: Jennifer Stenhouse

All Levels

Zoom link and instructions for joining the call will be emailed 1 day prior to class.

The class supply list is below and contains links to buy the supplies you need.

This class will be recorded, and the recording will be available for students to access through their Little Metal Foxes accounts for a full month after the live class.

Knowing how to make traditional Japanese alloys like shakudo and shibuichi can add another level of beauty and color possibilities to your designs (making alloys is known as sara-awase).

The textures and colors possibilities are very different you’re your standard alloys. Making alloys and ingots is a basic skill necessary to the jeweler’s studio. Working with materials like silver, gold, and copper it’s easy to melt to create new alloys from your scrap metal. We will discuss the possible ways to recycle the scraps in the studio safely. Students will learn how to melt and pour ingots, use a rolling mill and draw plates to make fresh new sheet and wire for their studio needs, and the basics of alloying their metal. Melting metal can be done with ingot molds made from a variety of materials like graphite, cuttlebone, and charcoal. These techniques have been used since ancient times as an ingot molds for casting. Bring your scrap fine silver, sterling silver, copper, and gold, if you have it.

We will also be discussing how to heat treat for unique textures and specialized patinas for these alloys.



Supply List for Students

The links below will take you to or other suppliers. To see prices for precious metal items, you need a free Rio Grande account. Registered Little Metal Foxes students can access the Rio for Schools program for significant savings (discounts and flat-rate shipping). This site may contain Amazon and other affiliate links. If you purchase something through the link, at no cost to you, we may receive a small commission on qualifying purchases.

Recommended Tools


Bring your scrap fine silver, sterling, copper, and gold, if you have it! You will up to equal amounts of copper and silver to make shibuichi, and an additional small amount of any karat scrap gold to make 4% gold shakudo. I also use copper pennies from 1983 or earlier. They make a great alloy!

Melting metal and ingot casting tools:

Other potential ingot mold materials:

  • Cuttlebones. These can be purchased from bird suppliers and some jewelry suppliers. I get my medium to large bones from Great Companions on line. Most cuttlebones are only able to be used once.
  • Soft charcoal block. There are differs kinds of charcoal blocks. Be sure to use soft charcoals solder blocks for casting. These can generally be used a few times if you are careful. The mold will deteriorate a bit with each use.

Metal and jewelry tools:

Patina and finishing materials:

From your local hardware store:

  • Thin iron binding wire (20-24g,)
  • Dust Mask
  • Coarse sand paper
  • Sand, pumice rocks, solder bricks or clay kitty litter to hold cuttlebones propped up securely while casting
  • Borax (20 mule team is available from the grocery store near laundry detergent)
  • Leather gloves  
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